Heavy Hour Patrick Brown

Heavy Hour Patrick Brown

Is a murder at a wedding related to an incident that happened 10 years before? I’m sure this has been the basis of many books in the past, but not many will have evolved into a story as good as this one.

On Jelly and Dillon’s wedding day Dillon is cruelly murdered. The Police investigation identifies no suspects so the family turn to a friend, local security expert Salem Reid.

As Salem begins his investigation it draws him towards a mysterious man. The man is violent and a sexual predator. What’s worse is he makes and distributes violent pornography.

Can Dillon have been involved, or is it coincidence that joins them.

Patrick Brown is a very descriptive writer. During the scenes of sexual violence he does not hold back and it is rare for me to say a book goes too far but this one came close. However it didn’t cross the line, I didn’t put it down and I have to say I really enjoyed the story.

This story is told from an independent point of view, the main protagonist is a family friend who helps the grieving widow. There is no abundance of the scientific methods used by the police in a modern investigation. Salem Reid uses observations. He follows people, he thinks things through, makes connections and then acts on them.

This is a good book with a good story. Its told from an unusual point of view. It kept me reading from start to finish. That has to be a good sign

Would I recommend this book? Yes but not to anybody feint-hearted

The Wrecking Crew Taylor Zajonc

The Wrecking Crew   Taylor Zajonc

The book starts with a plane full of scientists being shot down whilst they are investigating a mysterious red kelp off the Horn of Africa, continues with a prison escape, luxury yatch theft and that’s just the first few pages.

Are the uber-rich causing the pollution in the gulf fro their mega-structure in the sea? One mans greed and vision has created a land that belongs to no kingdom but is it working as well as he thinks it is.

Dr Fatima Nassir was that crashed. Her son breaks Jonah Blackwell out of prison to help him find justice for his mother and to recover her research.

Blackwell is one of the most complex characters of have encountered recently in a book, but what a character a cross between Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne. That alone is worth reading this book for.

Every good adventure thriller needs a bad guy, and it’s easy to dislike Charles Bettencourt from the start. Rich, obnoxious, corrupt and outright nasty, the perfect villain

This book has everything a Clive Cussler fan would like, at times I forgot I was reading a book and was transported back to the boys own tales of the Warlord comic I used to read in the 60’s and 70’s.

Did I like this book? Yes.

Would I recommend this book? Yes but, I think it’s a male thing, and without being sexist I really don’t see many of my female friends liking it.

Mr Zajonc I look forward to your next book.

City on Fire Garth Risk Hallberg

City on Fire     Garth Risk Hallberg

This is a mammoth book running in at well over 900 pages. Each one is carefully crafted a takes the reader on several journeys, I think each of which may have made a good book on their own.

Set in the mid 70’s New York my baby boomer generation saw as a gang ridden dangerous city, where big money lived next to ghettos, where the music scene was in full swing, as disco was giving way to punk.

Hallberg could not have chosen a better city to paint his literary tapestry, nor better people to use as his characters.

The book introduces us to a diverse set of characters that seem entirely unrelated; but as a blizzard hit New York prepares to ring in 1977 two shots ring out.

The investigation into the shooting brings more characters into the story. Like cogs in an engine they all play their role, the actions of one inadvertently affecting those of others. Eventually the cogs start to rotate as one, and during the Blackout of July 1977 a revelation.

If you like Edward Rutherfurd’s style of writing; but prefer Ed McBain’s stories this book will be perfect for you.

If, like me, you love a good book then this one is definitely for you, but be prepared its long and it doesn’t get put down very often.

The Silent Room Mari Hannah

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You know that feeling? The one when your favourite author diverges from their series to write a stand-alone novel. The feeling when you hope it’s as good as the series but you’re disappointed the usual characters aren’t in the story.

That feeling lasted about 2 pages when I was reading The Silent Room. The book had me hooked so quick I read half of it the first day I had it.

Mari Hannah introduces some fantastic new characters in this book. The main protagonist Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is depressed that his ex-boss, and best friend, Jack Fenwick has been charged with a serious crime Ryan does not think he committed. But when a prison transfer van is hijacked and Fenwick is released and disappears, it appears that Fenwick may have been guilty after all.

To make matters worse Detective Superintendent Eloise O’Neil and her sidekick Detective Sergeant Maguire, of Northumbria Professional Standards Department, are tasked with investigating the escape Ryan immediately comes under their scrutiny.

Ryan quickly starts to make his own inquiries whilst the official police investigation carries on.

The two investigations run parallel to each other with the added friction of Ryan and Maguire being in constant conflict.

The end of the book comes quick. As with all of her books Mari Hannah doesn’t give the reader an easy ride on the way, and the twists and turns continue right to the end. I usually read on a Kindle but was lucky enough to have a paperback copy of The Silent Room. With what appeared to be only a few pages left I was beginning to think I was home and dry and that all of the drama was over, I should have known better. All the way to the last paragraph of the last page this book delivers.

This is a great book. Mari Hannah has written a story that quickly draws the reader in. It is set, like all of her books in the stunning countryside of Northumbria, allowing her to use remote destinations with the full attention of “Big City” Policing.

The characters are great. The reader will instantly form an empathy with Matthew Ryan. As with all of her characters there are some great, and believable, back-stories. I have a feeling she must write a complete bio for each character, even the bit part ones, as they all fit together and into the story amazingly.

If you are a Fan of the Kate Daniels series of books you are going to love this book.

If you are a new reader to her books, enjoy this and then read her others.

Mari Hannah has a unique way of getting it right. Her stories are believable. Her procedures are accurate. Her characters come to life on the page.

I recently wrote a blog titled Killer-Lady-Writers, about how lucky we are in the UK to have some women writing fantastic Police Procedural thrillers.

This book cements Mari as being right at the top of the list.

Pretty Dead Anne Frasier

Pretty Dead     Anne Frasier

Set in Savannah Georgia the story revolves around a series of murders. What sets this book apart from most others is exactly that, it revolves around the murders, and the main story is that of the characters.

From the start the reader knows the name of the killer, Jeffrey Nightingale. Nightingale is clever, he knows that the Police look for patterns of behaviour when looking for offenders, so every few years he takes on a new persona, changes location, and changes the way he kills.

The main protagonist in the story is Elise Sandburg, Head of Savannah Police Department. As well as investigating a murder she is struggling to put her past behind her, having been kidnapped and violently assaulted on a previous case. Elise’s father makes an unwelcome return during the investigation that only complicates matters. Especially as his return was kept a secret by department partner David Gould

Gould has his own demons in his past, but is the anniversary of his son’s death enough to distract him from the current investigation.

Just to add to the conundrum of characters FBI profiler Victor Lamont is brought in to help with the case. The history between Gould and Lamont is fraught with tension and threatens to divide the investigation team.

Then there is Jay Thomas Paul, “a man with three surnames” as Elise refers to him; a reporter from the New York Times that is given permission to shadow Sandburg and Gould during their investigations into the increasing death count.

And then there is the Crosswords

What have they got to do with the story?

I loved this book. It stands out from others of the same genre because it concentrates more on the characters than it does on the crimes. However the crimes are perfect for the story allowing all of the characters story-lines to move along in a believable way.

I am sorry to admit it but this is the first book of Anne Frasier’s that I’ve read. Having looked her up on the net I now know she’s a New York Times Best Selling Author with many books to her name. In fact Pretty Dead is the third in a series following on from Play Dead and Stay Dead, both of which are now on my have-to-read-soon list.

It might be a geographical problem, I’ve looked in UK bookshops and only found one or two of her books. If you are reading this in the UK get on Amazon and grab yourself a treat.

More information about Anne Frasier and her books can be found on her own website

http://www.annefrasier.com

Who would I recommend this book too. Everybody who likes a good Police Procedural, a good Thriller, or just a good story.

People who like books by the UK authors Mari Hannah and Marnie Riches, and the American writer Greg Isles will love Anne Frasier

What Lies In The Dark CM Thompson

What Lies In The Dark   CM Thompson

The book starts with a young girl running through the woods. She is scared of the woods but she is more scared of the big boys at school who might be on her safe route home. The opening few pages explores and explains her fear. The rest of the book examines the fears of a community.

The main story starts with Detective Sergeants Victoria “Bullface” Bullrush and Aaron Fletcher attending a murder scene. There is a marking on the body which confuses the detectives, and about the significance of which they disagree about.

As the story unfolds it is evident that there is a serial killer in the area and that they are killing women, the attacks becoming more frequent.

Thompson looks at the fear of local people and the affect the crimes are having on them, and also looks at the affect the investigation is having on the Police Officers.

The story rattles to its conclusion with a bit of padding. The author uses case files to remind the reader about each of the victims, and by the time you get to them you need them to bring the story back into line.

I’m tempted to say this book is a series of very small stories linked by some slightly unbelievable main characters. It’s almost a scatter gun approach to a Police Procedural. For the first 2 chapters I wasn’t sure what country it was set in, and I still don’t know where in the UK it was set.

This all led to it being a very frustrating read

In Bitter Chill Sarah Ward

In Bitter Chill           Sarah Ward

It is not often I can say I have found an original plot line. One that I have not come across before, and when I do I usually find them contrived. After all a Police procedural based around a murder can only be done so many ways, can’t it?

From Arthur Conan Doyle, through to Lynda La Plante somebody somewhere must have covered just about every plot, or so I thought until I read In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward.

DI Sadler and his team, DS Palmer and DC Childs, are called to investigate an apparent suicide in a Hotel in Bampton within the Derbyshire Peak District. Not an incident they would normally be involved with, but the dead woman is the mother of one of two girls who were kidnapped in 1978, a case that was never solved.

Their boss Superintendent Llewellyn had been a recruit PC in 1978 and wants his team to re-examine the kidnap whilst investigating the apparent suicide.

One of the two girls, Rachel Jones, was found 3 hours after initially been taken and now works in the same town, as a Genealogist. She has no little of the incident, but the suicide of her friend’s mother starts a turn of events that begins to bring back memories.

As the Police carry out their investigations Rachel starts her own using her skills, and knowledge, as a local historian, but who if anybody will unravel the facts that will bring either case to a close.

The book looks at the effects of the kidnap on the surviving girl. How she has developed into a slightly introvert expert in her field. It looks at the psychological effects it has on her, and how the investigation into the death of her friend’s mom’s suicide makes her question her own family and how they dealt with her disappearance.

The story is complex but easy to follow. The reason its easy to follow is because its hard to put down. I didn’t put it down long enough to come anywhere near forgetting what I had previously read.

The use of a Local Historian/Genealogist as one of the main protagonists in the book is a stroke of genius. It is this that makes this story unique. Interlinking crimes set in the same community but separated by nearly 40 years. The Police investigation is shackled by passage of time and the real expert being one of the victims. How much leeway can they give Rachel without compromising any findings, or her welfare?

I made extensive notes to help me write this review, but I don’t want to give away any of the story so I won’t be using them, I will say that the main characters, and many others, in the book have interesting storylines within the main context of the book. They are all developed as the story moves along and by the end of the book I was left hoping that there would be more to come in future instalments.

Here’s hoping that In Bitter Chill will be the first of many books by Sarah Ward.

When I researched Sarah I found out that this is her first book, and that she has written a lot of reviews for other books in her own blogs at www.crimepieces.com

For me that makes the originality of this book even more impressive. They say everybody has a book in them, and with my experiences I would like to think I had one in me, but every time I sit down to try and come up with a plot I always think “no that’s already been done”, or “no I’ve read that before somewhere”

Well Done Sarah. I look forward to many more tales from the Derbyshire Peak District.